By: Bill Jackson J.D., CLU®, Sr. Advanced Markets Consultant at Partners Advantage
Generational split dollar consists of a trust structured for the benefit of Generation C (age 27). This trust would own life insurance on Generation B’s (age 58) life. Generation A (age 88) would enter into a non-equity collateral assignment split dollar agreement with the trust. In searching for methods of discounting the value of a wealthy client’s estate, the concept of generational split dollar should not be overlooked. This is especially the case if the client is very old or perhaps uninsurable and wants to do some later life estate planning. For example, a Generation A client (age 88) makes a personal loan of $3 million to a grantor irrevocable life insurance trust established for the benefit of Generation C (age 27). The trust purchases a life insurance policy on the life of an individual in Generation B (age 58). The client receives a note which becomes an account receivable. This account receivable is worth less than $3 million due to the restrictive right to be paid back only at a future date out of cash values or at the death of Generation B. Because of Generation B’s expected longevity, and other factors, the appraiser values the note at $750,000. The result is dramatic estate tax savings relative to an outright gift of $3 million.
A recent court case, Estate of Clara M. Morrissette - United States Tax Court, the court ruled in favor of the estate. It is important to note that all current split dollar rules were followed meticulously. The trusts involved were likewise established for valid separate purposes. Therefore, if this design is executed correctly it can transfer significant wealth and provide a dramatic estate tax reduction. Care should be taken not to sell or cancel the policy, merge the trust with another trust with the same beneficiaries, or for the donor to have access to the cash values, as this could cause the transaction to be viewed as a step transaction to avoid taxation and therefore fail.
Read the full article: "Serving Clients With Estate Planning Needs" first published in the December 2016 Broker World magazine here.
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Policy loans and withdrawals will reduce available cash values and death benefits, and may cause the policy to lapse or affect any guarantees against lapse. Additional premium payments may be required to keep the policy in force. In the event of a lapse, outstanding policy loans in excess of un-recovered cost basis will be subject to ordinary income tax. Tax laws are subject to change.
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